The weather has turned cold and windy, and you’ll likely see a sheet of ice on your car windshield in the morning. Even if it hasn’t happened yet, it’s bound to appear sooner or later. November has finally turned into December and now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it’s time to look forward to another large meal that will more than satisfy your hunger while warming your soul. If you’ve never experienced the joys of Chinese-style hot pot before, well then, you’re in for a treat!
What Exactly Is It?
It may surprise you, but there are many different variations on the hot pot formula, even across the various regions of China. Northern China tends to favor lamb, while farther south where Cantonese influences are stronger, seafood is the prime ingredient. This culinary style isn’t unique to China either – Japan (shabu-shabu) and Thailand (suki) have their own traditions as well. With enough planning and preparation, you can elevate this meal into something truly amazing.
What Do You Need?
A pot and burner are the two main elements of putting together a hot pot based dinner. You can also find ying-yang burners that are divided so one side could have a meaty broth while the other one could be vegetarian-based; alternatively, you could separate ingredients that are gluten-free from ones that aren’t. You’re also going to need to collect a few other things: namely, chopsticks, tongs, strainers, spoons, eating bowls, and dipping sauce bowls.
Most of the time, hot pots will contain meat, seafood, noodles, and dipping sauces. But what if you are trying to stick to a vegan or vegetarian-based diet? That shouldn’t leave you out in the cold and excluded from all of the fun. Here are some ideas for you:
- Greens: watercress, Chinese spinach, snow pea leaves, lettuce, chrysanthemum leaves, napa cabbage, baby bok choy;
- Roots: Daikon radishes, carrots, lotus roots, and yes, potatoes; add these into the broth at the beginning of the cooking process so it simmers the flavor in.
- Mushrooms: Button mushrooms, portobellos, shiitake, and enoki mushrooms are all great ideas – you can use enokis and bean sprouts to simulate noodles!
- Tofu: Tofu is an Asian staple made from soybeans, and in a hot pot concoction, you can toss in cubes, puffs, pressed tofu, and bean curd sticks.
Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market
Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop-shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to serve our customers better. Since we opened in 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, please email us at LottePlaza.com.